ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 4

I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1, 2 and 3 the last three Mondays, so you can check them out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…

Rhonda Severino: I once read that if you bring a third person into a scene it creates a different dynamic between the main characters. When reading the story, I think you can see Christian’s growing frustration in regard to his relationship with his traveling partner, Jill.

Enter Rhonda, the sexy hitchhiker. She’s one of my favorite characters in the book. I dig her raw sexuality and tough exterior. Like the rest of the characters in the book, she’s already damaged goods long before she meets up with Chris and Jill. She’s a good person who’s been dealt a shitty hand in life and compounded her problems with a series of bad decisions. That all comes from low self esteem and naivety.

Bringing Rhonda into the story created tension between Jill and Christian. I think she showed Jill that she wasn’t the only chick in Christian’s world, and her throne could be threatened. She really pushed the story forward. I love her!

The inspiration for her came from a real girl I met who worked at a dry cleaners back in Woodbury, NJ. I remember back in the 90’s I was just beginning to do some writing and I told her a piece I was working on. She said she wanted to be a character in my story. She certainly fit the profile for someone I would write about. When I asked her what she wanted her character to be she replied, “I want to be portrayed as a hot slut, who has lots of sex and then gets murdered.” At the time I thought that wasn’t much of a departure from who she already was. I never forgot her, and knew she’d be perfect for the role of Rhonda!

Madison Beer dons barely there Daisy Dukes for shopping outing ...

Things that changed: In the original draft for Angel with a Broken Wing, there were certain elements that were removed or changed in later edits. When I first drafted the original treatment for the book, I just went balls out, accelerator to the floor on my writing. There was tons of profanity and even some racist moments in the dialogue. There was also graphic, gratuitous violence and nearly pornographic/erotica sex in the book. As I edited it, I realized as my first work of fiction to be published, I didn’t think it was necessary to go that hardcore to tell the story.

So I cleaned up the language, and only let my characters curse when it was absolutely necessary to punch up the dialogue. Pepper their speech, don’t drown it in hot sauce. The violence was over the top, and in the final edits… simplified. You can kill a person without violating them sexually for no good reason. Also the sex was way too dirty. I find that action sequences are so much easier to write than sex scenes. Action and violence must come naturally to people, because I really struggled to make the sex tastefully done in Angel. In the original draft you would have felt like you were there. In the final version, maybe you just saw it through an open window. It was quite a challenge, but it needed to happen.

One of my favorite things that changed in the published version of Angel is that I got to play God a little bit. In the first draft there are two characters that both died horrible, violent deaths. But as I edited it I really started to like them, and saw their value. I could have easily killed them both off, no problem. But I liked the story so much better when I let them both live. I had to change two separate scenes, and even wrote an additional chapter a month before publication to accommodate the survival of one of them. By letting them live, it allowed me to return to them in a possible sequel where they get to continue on with their lives. I feel extremely satisfied with the way it worked out for the story.

Can you guess which two lived?

Audra Connelly: This character is based on a girl who used to come into my bank branch when I worked in South Philly back in the 90’s. She worked in sales for a payroll company and was always trying to get me to switch over to her services at the bank. She was also a customer, so sometimes we’d simply hang out together. Like the character, she has extraordinary bright blue eyes. She also loved to play volleyball, so her body was lean and muscular with calves that could stop a bullet. I don’t know what ever happened to her, and I can’t find her on Linkedin, but I hope she’s healthy, married and happy.

This is How Many People Have Blue Eyes | Best Life

The band at the bar in Palm Springs: My dad listened to a lot of National Public Radio. He turned me on to Chris Isaak, and a band called Big Lazy. He would literally come down the hall and get me from my room to come listen to these artists. I ended up buying their records and becoming a huge fan of both. I was listening to a bunch of Chris Isaak and Big Lazy when I was writing this book, so their sound is incorporated into the story. If it ever becomes a movie or a series, I could literally hand the director the soundtrack. Southern Culture on the Skids, Chris Isaak, and Big Lazy, all have that kind of open road sound. Please check out these artists. It’s perfect music to listen to while reading Angel with a Broken Wing.  I decide to give Big Lazy a plug by making them the house band at the bar in Palm Springs.

The Bayside Motel: That was the first motel that my friend Frank and I stayed in back in ’82 when we arrived in Los Angeles. I liked how Christian looks at the gun and the bottle of booze and sees the parallel to his old life and job at the finance company. He could pay off the loan instantly with a bullet, or by making installment payments over time by drinking himself to death.  I just love the hopelessness of that scene.

Santa Monica Pier: I believe it’s flourishing now, but I’m pretty sure it was closed down for quite some time in the late 80’s and early 90’s. It just seemed like the perfect location for an exciting scene in LA. that was a well known landmark.

Christian’s Dreams: The inspiration for his dreams are from images I felt when I listen to the song, In Spite of Me, by the band Morphine. That song always resonated with me and still does to this day. Just brilliant!

 

I think that’s all I can reveal without giving away the story. I hope you enjoyed reading this mini series as much as I enjoyed writing it!

 

Please buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 3

I decided to go back in my memory and try to remember all of the inspiring moments in my own life that helped bring this book to life. I published Part 1 and 2 the last two Mondays, so you can check them out to gather more insight into the book. Anyway, here’s some more stuff…

The Conversations: The interesting dialogue between Christian and the people in his life all came out of my head for the most part. I originally envisioned Angel as a play. It was about two people on a long car ride. The play would focus on all of the cool conversations they have together on a road trip. I wanted the stories to be diverse and engaging. Back in the 90’s, what else was there to do on a long trip? Read a magazine, listen to the radio or simply talk. I liked the idea and as the story grew, I incorporated all of those clever exchanges into the story.

The Villain: Although I’m always rooting for the hero, the bad guys in movies and books are always more interesting than the good guys. When I think about it, the villain has his on perspective of right and wrong. Both parties think they’re right. Superman wants to save the world, but Lex Luthor has his own agenda. The villain in Angel simply wants what he believes is rightfully his, and will stop at nothing to get it. I can’t really blame him, but I don’t agree with his methods. He isn’t based on anyone I know. I just envisioned the classic man in black from modern folklore.

The Route: Back in 1982, I took a road trip from New Jersey to Los Angeles, in a 1969 Volkswagen mini bus. I was with my buddy Frank Roberts. It was February when we set out, so we took the most southern route. It was interstate 10. Remembering many of the details and stops on that trip, I was able to create a similar route for Christian and Jill. Knowing that road and those towns along the way, I was able to bring the trip to life in a realistic way.

The Wagon Wheel: That’s a restaurant that Chris and Jill dine in one day. The name of the place is from a song by the band, Morphine. It’s a song called Thursday. I love that whole album, (A Cure for Pain) The lyrics always seemed so clever and illicit, that I felt that the song deserved a mention. Here’s the lyrics:

We used to meet every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
We used to go to a motel a motel
A motel across the street
And the name of the motel was the Wagon Wheel
Oh
One day she said come on come on she said
Why don’t you come back to my house
She said my husband’s out of town
You know he’s gone till the end of the month
Well I was just so nervous so nervous
You know I couldn’t really quite relax
‘Cause I was never really quite sure when her
Husband was coming back
Sure one of the neighbors yea one of the neighbors
One of the neighbors that saw my car
And they told her yea they told her
I think they know who you are
Well her husband he’s a violent man a very violent and jealous man
Now I have to leave this town I got to leave while I still can
We should have kept it every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
We should have kept it every Thursday Thursday
Thursday in the afternoon
For a couple of beers and a game of pool
She was pretty good too
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mark Sandman
Thursday lyrics © BMG Rights Management
I just liked the song so I worked the Wagon Wheel into the book.

New Orleans: Back in 1982, on my real road trip with Frank, we pretty much stayed on highway 10. But I remember the day we left Mobile, Alabama, Frank expressed that he wanted to take highway 12 down into New Orleans. I’m so glad we did that. You can actually read about our whole trip in the series: California Dreamin’ on this blog! Just enter that into the SEARCH box and you can read the whole sordid tale. It’s such a unique and wild place I had to include it into Angel. Did I jump onstage and play with a band in a bar down there? No. But it just had to be a stop for our heroes on their trip because it’s just a neat place. I think after we left there I described it as… Sodom and Gomorrah with a two drink minimum!

Sealy, Texas: That really happened. It wasn’t as bad as I made it in the book, (the roaches!) but the whole bit about the desk clerk, his coloring book and him chasing us in his car down a dirt road, really happened to Frank and I on our journey back in 1982. Difference was, I didn’t have a bulldog .44 pistol. But I did have Frank, who was formerly a member of the Junior wing of the IRA back in Belfast, Ireland. I’ll never forget when he leaped out of the car, with an ice pick in his hand to face the guy chasing us. I obviously changed it up for the book, but yea…true story.

The Car: When I first started writing this book, I thought what kind of car should they take on an odyssey across America. The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz came to mind. It’s an enormous automobile built for the open road. Can you imagine trying to parallel park that beast in the city? You’d never even find a spot for a car that size. Here’s a link to some more info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Eldorado

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible ...

It just seemed like the obvious choice for a long trip across the country. It looks like a 1950’s science fiction spaceship.  Who wouldn’t want to step on the gas and let that massive chrome boat carry you to parts unknown? There was a song I heard on WXPN in Philly, (public supported radio) by a band called Southern Culture on the Skids. There was a song called Voodoo Cadillac that opens the album. It’s some good old fashioned shit kickin’ rockabilly. I loved the idea of the title. So the character, Jean from Haiti was born, and he’s the one who brings the car back to life. As we all know Haiti is where voodoo comes from. I always like the movie, Serpent and the Rainbow, so that was an inspiration as well.

I always loved the car, and even bought a little toy one when I was in Palm Springs with my wife back in the 1990’s! (I still have it!)

The Police: The two officers that visit Christian and Jill in Texas were based on a couple of my childhood friends. Michael Mitchell was a kid I grew up with in Philly. His father was a cop and he became a police officer as well. He had a decorated career but sadly passed away in April of 2020. Richard Sarlo was my best friend in Wildwood New Jersey every summer. He always wanted to become a police officer. Through the years he rose up the ranks and eventually became the Chief of Police in Collingswood, New Jersey. He’s since retired and is living a happy life in South Jersey.

Scene in the Texas desert: The scene where Jill and Chris have to hang for a day in Texas because of the police investigation, was born from an old film. One of my least favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies, To Catch a Thief was the inspiration. It’s just Cary Grant and Grace Kelly riding a scooter in I the Italian countryside. She has a picnic lunch and I just loved the vibe of that scene so I sort of dropped that into the story. To me it’s a throwaway scene from a throwaway movie.

More to come next Monday!

 

Please buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING: Inspiration and Behind the Scenes – Part 1

The truth behind the story!

This is a 4 part mini series I wrote over the weekend as a companion to my recently published book. It will run over the next 4 weeks, every Monday morning at 8am!

Thank you!

Angel with a Broken Wing is my first work of fiction. It’s got all of my favorite elements in it. But where do these ideas come from? Well, I’m going to tell you.

I’m going to think back and try to remember some of the inspiration for this story.

I am obviously Christian Blackmore. Not anymore, but I was back in the 90’s. I was miserable in my marriage and my job, and I wished  I could just run away from the life I had created. I assembled his name from the word, Christian. Thinking he was a good Christian. He was a good man despite his shortcomings. Blackmore comes from the darkness that lies within him. More Blackness. (As a musician, I always liked the name of Deep Purple and Rainbow founder, Ritchie Blackmore, so there’s also that.)

The Cover: I was an art major all through school. When I think about that now, it feels like a million miles away. I liked comic books growing up, and my first exposure to art was in comics. I always made art throughout my childhood, so art class was a natural progression for me in school. It was the only class that was effortless.

I loved to work in pen and ink. I liked its stark simplicity. I have several works from high school that I still retain in my collection. This one, The Angel is my favorite.

It was an incredibly cold day in February of 1980. I was in my double period, art major class. There were only two of us in the class that were any good. Me and Bill Polini.

I looked out the window as the snow came flying. I took pen in hand, and imagined a beautiful girl. In a warm place. She’s with me. We’re maybe riding horses…or camels. She turns to look at me, and the reflection of the oasis behind me reflects in her sunglasses. I long to kiss her.

“Yea. I should try to draw that.”

Uncle John: I had an uncle John on my mother’s side of the family. I share many of the same characteristics of my mom’s side of the family more than my dad. My mother had four brothers; Roland, Robert, Norman, and John. All of her brothers kept their hair and all died in their late 70’s and 80’s so maybe if my liver holds up, I’ll meet the same fate. John never left me any inheritance, but my uncle Rob left all of us kids some loot and it was substantial. He lived in Florida.

The Pinto: My grandmother, (My dad’s mom) We called her Grammy. I loved her. When everybody thought I was a piece of garbage in my early teens, she was the only one that had faith in me. So She will always have a special place in my heart. She was a cool lady, who liked a cold glass of beer and some good neighborhood gossip. Just an adorable lady. When she died, the last car she owned was a gold Ford Pinto. That car is my last memory of her. So I used it in the story. The car’s fate is based on stories I heard back in the 70’s about an engineering flaw in the vehicle.

Woodbury, New Jersey: I lived in Woodbury from 1992 to 2001. My wife and I owned a house on Barber Street. I modeled Christian Blackmore’s residence after my own house there. So when I wrote about him in his house in Woodbury, I could picture my own life there.

The Phoenix: I remember first hearing about the story of the Phoenix on an old record album. It was a collection of stories about superheroes. It was like an old radio show type collection of plays on one LP. I remember hearing about the Phoenix in one of those stories, probably back as far as 1973. When one of the characters describes the Phoenix, it is a verbatim rendition of what I heard on that record, nearly 50 years ago. I always felt like I could relate to the Phoenix in my own life. I always felt that no matter how many times I got destroyed in my life, I always came back better than what I was before. I think that’s why I have the characters make a stop over in Phoenix, Arizona on their journey to LA. There are some transforming moments for a few of them in that chapter.

Gloucester County College: When I was married back in the 90’s my then wife came from a very collegiate family. I never went to college, but had several college credits from the American Institute of Banking through courses I had taken through the bank I worked for. My wife thought I should go back to college at night and take courses to get my college degree. So I did. I took those classes at night after work, at Gloucester County Community College. I don’t feel that it was a waste of time, because it led to some interesting things. I’ll be getting to them shortly.

The Gun: Everything you read in Angel about the Bulldog .44 revolver is true. I never owned a gun, and like Christian Blackmore, I hate guns. But all of the info about that weapon is from real events. The story Christian tells Sheryl about the girl at the shore is all true. That happened to me in the summer of 1977. Funny thing is, I recently reconnected with that girl from New York on Facebook. (At 57, she’s still hot!) Oh, one last thing, I had to make a slight change in the action sequence involving that gun. During the final edits of the book I discovered that the bulldog .44 only holds 5, not 6 bullets like most revolvers! I guess because those bullets are so big!

Sheryl Stanton: Sheryl was inspired by a girl I met in one of the banking courses I took at Gloucester County College. I pretty much describe Sheryl as how this girl was in real life. We had a good friendship for a brief period and even had some romantic dalliances. She did break it off with me when she moved to California for a period of time. The real Sheryl never worked in a mental health facility. That’s completely made up for the story.

Karl Itzky: The first kid I met when I went to Frankford High School in 1978, was a guy named Karl Itzky. He was the only person I knew other than my older sister. I just liked his name. He is nothing like the Karl Itzky in the book. He was a nice guy, who I sadly lost touch with when I moved up the social ladder in high school.

Honest Files: The name of the bar/restaurant where Christian and Sheryl hang out is taken from a song by the band, Urge Overkill. There are many references in the book about music I was listening to back in the 90’s where this story takes place. It’s from their album, Exit the Dragon. Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Hey, hey I’m dead on arrival
Hey, hey I’m distant
Crawling right back
Yes, I’m crawling right back
‘Cause I’m honesty, don’t break my heart
Honesty won’t break it
Honesty won’t break you heart
Honest it won’t
It won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t, it won’t…

I thought it was a cool song, and that bar is where I hung out with the real Sheryl back then. It’s where we would spill our guts to each other about everything in our lives. I used to say we were opening the ‘Honesty Files’ about what we were experiencing at that time.

The real place is exactly the way I describe it in the book. The animal trophies on the walls, all of the real bookcases all around the room, and the fireplace. We spent many a night there pounding martinis and smoking tons of cigarettes. (Yea, you could smoke in restaurants and bars back then!) It was a welcome repose from our chaotic lives.

Exterior - Picture of Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, Woodbury ...

Here’s the real Honesty Files… It’s a place called Charlie Brown’s at 111 Broad Street, in Woodbury, NJ

 

More next week!

 

You can buy Angel with a Broken Wing on kindle and paperback right here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

 

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

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ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is Now For Sale on Amazon! (kindle and paperback)

PUBLISHED!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

The day is finally here, and I couldn’t be happier! This has been a long time coming and a labor of love. I’ve been working day and night to get this baby written, and I think it’s my finest work yet! I hope you enjoy it!

 

I wanted to create something new. Not a non-fiction, compilation of stories from my blog. Something new. A story. A fable. A love story that included all of the elements of all the films I liked. A thriller, road movie, romance, mystery, an action yarn, that would be full of twists and turns.

The world had gone a bit mad, and I wanted to create a world I could control. I wanted it to take place in a time before there were smart phones or social media. A story about a boy and a girl trying to fall in love, during extraordinary circumstances. Let’s put a fancy car in there. Have them drive across the country on a road trip. Let’s throw a bad guy in there. That’ll keep them on edge. Let’s make it a mystery too. Let’s ‘David Lynch’ it up a bit with some interesting, unique characters. Let’s make them all flawed in some way. They all have the potential to be good, but they’re all struggling with themselves. They all want something, but they don’t know the right way to get it. A collection of misfits all trying to find themselves. All broken in some way. They want to fly, but their wings are broken, so they choose to run.

What if you could just run away from your current life?

Christian Blackmore works as a manager at a local finance company in New Jersey. He’s burned out from all the bad loans, and making collection calls every night. He spends his days laboring at a job he hates, and his evenings drinking at a local bar with his best friend. 

When his favorite uncle dies, and leaves him a unique inheritance, he begins to question the path he’s taken in life.

He decides to take a road trip across the country with a woman he just met. She’s a mysterious beauty, who may hold a dark secret. 

What begins as a romantic journey, becomes a nightmare, when he realizes he’s being followed by an elusive stranger. What does he want? Is it Christian, the girl, or something far more sinister?

Angel with a Broken Wing, takes you on a terrifying, coast to coast thrill ride across America. Can one man fall in love, and stay one step ahead in a cat and mouse game with a killer?

You can check it out here:

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

I want to first thank my daughter. Thank you for coming into my life. You are my inspiration. I love you! I can always come to you with an idea and you make it perfect.

Scott Macintosh. You’re my best friend. You’ve been with me since the beginning. Thank you for staying on the ship, even when it was sinking. 

Will Ball. Thank you for your friendship, the films, the laughs, and of course, the cocktails. I’m honored to have you in my life as a friend. 

A.M. Homes. Thank you for answering my letter with a personal note so many years ago. I was so inspired by your words, it gave me the courage to write my story the way I wanted to tell it, without fear.

Thanks to the amazing team at Amazon Kindle. Without you, I’d be lost in a sea of technology. I can write the words, but you guys help me turn them into books.

Thanks to everyone at Amazon. I became a member over 20 years ago when you were just a giant bookstore. After crawling on my hands and knees to agents and publishing houses for years, Amazon finally gave me the biggest platform on Earth to bring my literary work to the world!

A special thanks to everyone at WordPress. Without you, I couldn’t publish Phicklephilly every day for the last four years! Now we’re a dot com and I’ve monetized the site with ads! You gave me a home to bring my work to everyone! Thank you!

Thanks to all the folks over at GoDaddy. You made the transition from just another blogger to a dotcom look easy. Thanks for always being there when I needed you. You’re the best!

Thank you, dear readers, and subscribers for all of your support over the years I’ve been writing this little blog. I appreciate you all, and try to respond to all of your comments. I love your comments!

Please buy my new book. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed. It’s quite a ride!

This is a great book to read at the beach this summer!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

 

The people have spoken!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy my new book, Angel with a Broken Wing on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

 

 

HAPPY FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, EVERYONE…EVERYWHERE!!!

 

Zoolon Forever!

ANGEL WITH A BROKEN WING is now On Sale at Amazon! (kindle & paperback)

PUBLISHED!!!!

The official announcement will come out at 6am today!

But in the meantime…

Sneak Peek!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is available now!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly